FEMA's Fugate to address UF doctoral grads


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate, shown in this July 9, 2014 file photo, will deliver the University of Florida doctoral degree ceremony commencement address on Friday.

AP
Published: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 2:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 2:41 p.m.

The man who invented the Waffle House Matrix is coming home to Gainesville.

Craig Fugate, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will give the University of Florida doctoral degree ceremony commencement address at 4 p.m. Friday at the O'Connell Center.

About 850 of the 2,204 students who applied for graduation are expected to participate in ceremonies Friday and Saturday, UF officials said in a news release. A ceremony for those receiving bachelor's, master's or specialist degrees will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, the statement said. Nearly 1,000 undergraduates, close to 800 master's and specialist candidates, and 455 doctoral candidates applied to graduate, officials said.

Fugate gave the commencement address at Santa Fe College last year.

Fugate was born at the Jacksonville Naval Air Hospital but grew up in Alachua County. He was orphaned as a teen, and after graduating from Santa Fe High, trained at Santa Fe Community College and became an Alachua County paramedic and firefighter.

Fugate was emergency management director for Alachua County before being deputy director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. He was appointed director in 2001, and oversaw emergency response to some of the state's worst hurricanes -- Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004, and Dennis, Katrina and Wilma in 2005.

Despite the criticism he received for a shortage of ice and water following Wilma, Fugate was recognized by the Florida National Guard in 2006.

President Obama appointed Fugate director of FEMA in 2009 and he won bipartisan support. It was with FEMA that Fugate devised the Waffle House Matrix, a system that gauged the level of damage to a community by how well the local Waffle House was running, according to a FEMA blog item.

Green means the Waffle House is open and serving a full menu, which means the community is doing OK, FEMA said. Yellow means the Waffle House is damaged but serving a partial menu, and the community needs help, the blog item said. Red means the Waffle House is closed, so things must be really bad, according to the blog.

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